By Il Sung Na, grad student, MICA’s MFA Illustration Practice, Critical Seminar Spring 2014, Final Paper


Picture books or children’s books are one of the major parts of illustration industry and many people in countries around the world work on their new books and share them the rest of the world. Picture books have educational function, but many young artists today  use this format for experimental purposes. The focus of these books is meant still for young children, but many children’s picture books may be read and enjoyed by everyone.

The goal of this hypothetical exhibition is explore the behind the scenes aspects of picture book making. There are both differences and similarities of production for Korean authors who work in Korea and Korean authors working in the United States. To see the completed illustrations of picture books is always fascinating, but it can be even more interesting and exciting to see behind the scenes aspects of production that most of us never know.  And also to learn how the surround environment can effect an illustrator’s working process.

Suzy Lee

To capture a broader view of the industry I sent out email questionnaires to authors, illustrators, editors and art directors in both Korea and in the United States. This exhibition concept is based upon the questioner responses and the production images the illustrators interviewed sent to me. Each author, editor and art director within the process will be sent questions related to the publishing experience. I hope to get as broad a range of responses as possible in order to show the variety of approaches and views of picture book making.

Il Sung Na

Exhibition Section/Theme Panels

First section

This section will explore the many wonderful contemporary authors, illustrators, and editors working in Korea.

Their interviews will be  shown along with their illustration images or photos of their images. In this section we will learn about how Korean authors and editors approach their ideas and how they pursue their process.

We will also learn how they feel about the Korean book market and Korean picture books and if they feel that Korean picture books can make to the world market. If so, what’s the reason that they can. If they feel that their work cannot be successful in foreign markets, why not.

Second section

This section address Korean authors  and illustrators who are currently working in the United States.

It will explore their thoughts and experiences in U. S. market place and publishing industry. The set-up and format is the same as in the first exhibition section.


The questions asked:

  1. If you think Korean picture books can be successful in foreign markets, what’s the key reason. If you think it is difficult to make it happen, then why?
  2. If there are any differences between picture books in Korean and in US, what are the differences?
  3. There are many great authors and illustrators in Korea. How they approach or what kind of efforts they have to make?
  4. Please share your experiences of book making.
  5. When you make a book, do you particularly interested in subjects which are related to specific market?
  1. If there are any books in Korea you would like to introduce or recommend to people in abroad.
  2. If there are something people in Korea make efforts to publish in US market, then what are those?
  3. If you have something you would like to give advices to people who want to be an author or illustrator.


The List of Artworks to Appear in Each Section

Soo Jung Kim – Art director & editor
Sang Hyun Chun – Publisher and educator
Ji young Woo – Editor

Young Jin Kim – Author & Illustrator
Kyung Kook Lee – Author & Illustrator
Jung Tac Oh – Illustrator

Ji Sun Lee – Author & Illustrator
Suzy Lee – Author & Illustrator

 Tae Eun Yoo

Tae Eun Yoo – Author & Illustrator
Byun Yoo – Author & Illustrator
Hye Won Yum – Author & Illustrator